As you know, there are some well-designed apps out there. And there are some duds. As you read that, your mind probably took you immediately to apps on your phone that sit on both ends of the spectrum. The duds don’t matter much to Apple, but the good ones do, and each year they compete for the coveted shiny status which tells the word they’re one of the best. For 2016, Apple called out a handful of apps from task managers to fitness tools to games and made them winners.
A look at some of the winners
It made me curious, with such a wide range of subjects in these apps – I mean, Lara Croft even – and an equally wide price range (free to 25 bucks!), do the winning apps have anything in common? I downloaded a few to do my homework.
First download: INKS. Yep, that’s in all caps. When you think of INKS, think of pinball meets adult coloring books. It’s beautiful and colorful and simple (one reviewer even calls it “minimalism in the design”). And even though I paid two bucks for this one, it still wants more money to level up and move ahead in the game.
Second download: Zova – Personal Trainer. This one was free – for a bit. It’s a very clean app with great photography and easy-to-follow videos. And based on goals you set, the app will even recommend workouts for you. There are so many workout apps out there, but the ease of use and simplicity of this one definitely makes it a winner. Do know though, after you’ve burned through the free workouts, you’ll be encouraged to move into the premium paid version of the app.
Third download: Auxy Music Creation. Also free. Not to get too deep into my psyche, but the fact that I never learned to play a musical instrument is one of my biggest regrets. This app makes me think that David Foster should be calling any moment to sign me to a record deal! The app is clean and simple, complete with a link to YouTube tutorials. It would actually be lots of fun on a long car ride, though it may make your fellow travelers a bit crazy after about 15 minutes.
So, what is the common thread?
When I look back at those three short reviews, there is one word that jumps out at me from each one: Simple.
As a user, I want an app that I can dive into immediately. I don’t want a cluttered screen. I don’t want to watch hours of how-to videos before I can level up or strengthen my glutes. I want the app navigation to be concise and easy to, well, navigate.
So I say to you, you future app-design award winners: Keep it clean, keep it uncluttered and keep it colorful. Maybe then you’ll win a shiny statue from Apple of your very own.